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A Look at HR's Trending Headlines

Human resources (HR) as a function has always had a large remit, including everything from payroll and employee benefits to employment law. As we move forward in today’s everchanging world of work, HR’s priorities are transforming yet again, with senior leadership finally realising the impact that a robust HR function has on business success, growth and development.

In this blog, we discuss some of the current HR Trending Headlines, keeping you up to date with what is happening in this transformative industry.

Return to office or lose your promotion, Amazon says...

During the few years across the globe, we’ve seen businesses operating with hybrid working models, spending time both at home working and in the office.

While this was a welcomed change for many of us, larger organisations are slightly alternating their working models. The world’s most prominent online retailer, Amazon, for example, has started warning their employees, saying that they will be giving up their opportunity for a promotion if they aren’t in the office at least three days a week.

The argument for debate is that the promotion process, more often than not, should be dealt with in-person. Being that senior managers take ownership of the growth and development of their staff, Amazon feels that regular communication, mentoring, stretch assignments and so forth are better monitored face-to-face.

However, what are your thoughts?

People Management Poll: Three quarters would work in a dog friendly office - what do HR experts say?

A recent LinkedIn poll announced that unsurprisingly, 74% of individuals would be happy to work in a dog friendly office. With many individuals saying that their furry friends are excellent at reducing high levels of stress and boosting morale, they are keen to bring their dogs into their offices.

Senior People Partner of Unmind, a mental health tech company says that their office is dog friendly and has said that allowing their employees to bring their dogs to work has been ‘a big factor in supporting our wellbeing and bringing that extra energy to the office”.

In addition, HR and Training Manager for Stagestruck Ltd, Emma Godfray, has said that having dogs in their office has allowed staff to be more active at lunchtimes, taking their pups out for walks and getting that well needed fresh air. She also compliments the healthy distraction that dogs bring to the working days, as well as some much-needed amusement.

On the flip side, Emma goes on to explain that their dog friendly office is only possible due to the space they have around their office, in which dogs can be let off their leads and have a chance to play.

Taking into consideration everyone’s thoughts and feelings is also essential, as some individuals do have allergies, feel uneasy or distressed by dogs or in some cases have specific religious views or opinions when it comes to pets. At the end of the day, a workplace must be a safe place for all staff to work in, not just the majority.

Is your office dog friendly? Is this something that you feel is fair for all staff?

Equal Pay Day 2023: 'Still a long way to go' to close gender pay gap, HR expert warns.

November 22nd, marks Equal Pay Day, a day in which we take the wage differences based on gender into account (though whether there should only be a day dedicated to that is questionable). Shockingly, from today until the end of the year, women are essentially working for free, when comparing their wages to male counterparts.

Data suggests that we still have a long way to go until we close the gender pay gap, with those who are 40 and over, born before 1983, unlikely to see the gender pay gap close before they reach the age of retirement.

Harriet Harman, who is the Chair of the Fawcett Society, says that the gender pay gap is simply closing too slowly. She goes on to say that with woman over 40 having to suffer the pay gap until they retire, which is unfair and unjust.

She then goes on to explain that flexibility has a huge part to play, with many women accepting lesser pay and in some cases, working conditions working, in exchange for more flexible working patterns. It’s said that urgent action is needed to ensure woman are ‘allowed to work to their full level of skills and experience’ and that if caring responsibilities were efficiently split between men and woman, these sacrifices would no longer have to be made by woman alone.

On the flip side, DR Zara Nanu, who works for XpertHR goes on to explain that businesses shouldn’t feel discouraged by these factors, as we’ve never been ‘more equipped to enact change than we are today’. She also explains that technology can play a vital part in addressing pay gap concerns, especially in terms of identifying and analysing issues and solutions.

What steps is your company taking to reduce the gender pay gap?

Unlimited vacation ranks as the best benefit for belonging.

Unlimited days of annual leave, this sounds like a dream for most of us working 40 hours a week, however, for some people, this dream is a reality!

Recent research says that companies that offer unlimited vacation days considerably benefit in the long run with their staff taking less time off overall, due to reduced feelings of burnout and a high sense of belonging.

Those who have a strong sense of belonging are seven times more likely to be productive in their day jobs, with Workplace Vice President, Kumari Williams, also stating that unlimited annual leave is now becoming a “fundamental human need that plays a crucial role in shaping our overall wellbeing and satisfaction”.  

Hannah Yardly who is the Achievers, Chief People and Culture Officer, says that their data in particular shows positive benefits to unlimited holiday policies, however, leadership must play a vital role in encouraging staff to take leave as they wish. She says work must be put in to ensure psychological safety is prominent in relationships between employees and managers, so that individuals know it’s okay to take breaks.

On the flip side, company benefits are said to be no ‘one-size fits all’, and perhaps not everyone is suited to unlimited leave policies. A balance is needed to ensure everyone reaps benefits and a sense of belonging, evidenced in childcare support in the workplace only increasing a sense of belonging by 15% for men and 27% for woman.

Do you think mental health would improve considerably across organisations that offered unlimited annual leave to staff?

Gen Z are proving to be confident line managers.

There are currently five generations in the workplace and the youngest of them all, Generation Z are definitely making their mark. With 18–24-year old’s having been brought up in a digital world, are environmentally conscientious, inclusive of genders and sexualities etc., they are making fine leaders and are said to be much more confident than their older peers when it comes to discussing sensitive and difficult topics.

With an eagerness to learn, 85% of the younger generation have asked their managers for further managerial training, showing signs commitment and resilience when it comes to building their leadership skills and authority.

With any young professional, however, there’s still room for improvement. Sarah Dillon, Director of Legal and ER at Esphr confirms that even though generation Z are more confident than the average worker when it comes to discussing, neurodiversity and gender identity, they are less confident with discussing infertility, or death of a close relative.

This shows that the next generation of managers do have significant potential but learning and development is paramount. It’s said that workplaces must now recognise the value that diverse perspectives bring and that they should remain committed to developing the skills, experiences and minds of their workforces.

Do you think theirs place for both Generation X and Generation Z managers in the workplace?

As we move into a new year, it’s with no doubt that we will continue to see more of a transformation within human resources, with topics such as individualised policies, further development of change management and employee led learning taking focus.

If you’re excited by the people industry and the above trending headlines have made you think, perhaps a career in Human Resources could be the perfect one for you.


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